Despite the downturn in the resources industry, a general positivity was felt among junior explorers at this year’s RIU Resources Round-up.
The two-day event, held at Sydney’s Sofitel, provided a good barometer of how the industry is progressing, this year playing host to 48 exhibitors, with nearly 150 registered attendees.
Explorers, investors, and technology companies such as Ausgold, Alkane Resources and TerraCore attended the round up. It also hosted 45 presentations including 39 from resource companies, all highlighting the next wave of Australian discoveries.
Since its beginning in 2004, the event has increased in size, despite fluctuations in the industry.
Doug Bowie, manager for resources at the organiser Vertical Events, spoke to Australian Mining, saying there was a good spirited attitude during the event.
“It was very positive after a couple of years of dark times for the industry,” he said.
“It has seen its ups and downs; It started very quietly and by 2010-2011, it had close to 1000 people,” Bowie said.
The improved mood is little surprise for those watching the industry.
Earlier this year on day one of the Paydirt 2016 Latin America Downunder conference in Perth, PCF Capital Group Mines online managing director Liam Twigger said the worst is over for global mining equities, ending what he called a four year ‘Nuclear Winter’.
“Since January 1 this year, more than $860 million had been raised by the ASX for mining and exploration companies,” he said.
“This is more than 50 per cent higher than the same time last year. Internationally, over US$2.7 billion has been raised in North America for the mining sector.”
He added sentiment is changing rapidly, and that gold was at the front of this transformation in investment interest.
“In an environment where interest rates around the world are heading lower or negative, and governments are trying to outdo one another in depreciating their currencies to make their exports more attractive, it is no wonder investors are seeking a store of value,” he said.
One company at the Round-up was excited about their future in gold exploration.
Kin Mining, who also had a presentation at the event, recently completed a scoping study on the outcome of their Lenora gold project in Perth, which yielded positive results in terms of profit returns.
The study determined that the project was both economically and technically viable, with a base case of $1500 per ounce and $461.6 million total revenue.
Kin Mining executive director Trevor Dixon said, “It transforms the project from valuable in ground resources, to potentially an economically viable mining operation. This study demonstrates to the market that Kin Mining has a genuine likelihood of becoming a gold producing company in the near future.”
At the event, Dixon told Australian Mining he was happy with the report and what it found.
“It gave the market the idea that they [Kin mining] are undervalued,” he said.
The company was listed on the ASX in 2013 and Dixon described how they had to list themselves during difficult times in the industry, but are now positive about their results. Securing the Lenora project from the administrators of Navigator Australia was one of their biggest milestones since listing.
In terms of the exploration process, Dixon highlighted persistence as a key approach.
“We don’t mind plenty of dust, as long as there’s something in it. We’re prepared to do the hard yard if that’s what it takes to get there,” he said.
“Having that clear vision is half the battle.”
PepinNini Minerals also showcased their company at the event, with managing director Rebecca Hollard-Kennedy providing a presentation as well.
The company’s focus is on greenfields exploration, particularly in gold and diamonds, copper, nickel, and lithium. Exploration manager Nicole Galloway-Warland emphasised the strength of the company was exploration, particularly on uncharted areas.
“We love exploring, that challenge is quite important,” she said.
Their most recent undertaking is the Musgrave project in South Australia which has copper, nickel and platinum group elements (PGEs) prospects. They are also exploring lithium brines in Argentina with the Salta Project having a high potential for the mineral.
As they do not primarily focus on one mineral, they are able to juggle between different exploration activities.
“It also means that as the matter goes up and down, we can be attractive to our investors,” Galloway-Warland added.
The rising positive sentiment at the Round-up from juniors demonstrates a trickle up economy in terms of mood, acting as a barometer for the industry in near future.